An investigation by the News4 I-Team found a backlog of 148 maintenance requests at Washington, D.C., parks and recreation facilities. In some cases, repairs have languished for months. In others, damage has recurred, even after repair.
The News4 I-Team’s review of D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation documents revealed multiple breakdowns of plumbing, elevator and heating units. A damaged baseball park dugout fence at Fort Davis Community Center was fixed two months after the initial complaint, but News4 cameras discovered damage recurred. A busted retaining wall near the community center’s entrance remained unfixed, months after the initial complaint was filed.
Since the beginning of 2013, there have been at least 31 maintenance requests at Columbia Heights Community Center, 24 at Emery Recreation Center and 18 at Sherwood. Though the News4 I-Team’s investigation found some repairs still pending, D.C. Department of General Services Director Brian Hanlon said, “I push to get things fixed as quickly as possible.”
The News4 I-Team’s spot check of five D.C. parks found several work orders completed, including new locks on the football field at Ridge Road Recreation Center and graffiti removed at Lafayette Recreation Center.
Some neighborhood activists said they’re concerned the city’s recent push to open new park centers has stretched resources too thin to fix and maintain older facilities.
“There’s such political pressure to cut the ribbon,” said Terry Lynch, a northwest D.C. community activist, “but there’s not adequate planning for how we keep the park, pool or (recreation) center operational day in and day out.”
A city spokesman said the languishing repairs at the Fort Davis Community Center will be made in the coming months.